Rebirth of a Corvette by Terry Brim

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1 Rebirth of a Corvette Pete tank is not your normal everyday corvette owner. As a hobby, Pete tackles BIG jobs. i.e. he does frame off restorations of corvettes just for the fun of it. Pete has done 5 and is about to start his sixth. A big block which is to put it mildly a basket case. stunning 54 currently sitting beside the 69 in his Centerville garage. Pete tells me that he does everything himself except the body work and the painting. (his UPS man painted is 54...wow!). Pete usually spends over 1000 hours on each restoration which takes him about 6 months. When Pete called me one Saturday morning, he sounded excited, it will be here in about an hour he said You would have thought he was taking delivery on a brand new 2004! As it turned out, what he took delivery of was a very rough looking 69 vette along with what literally looked like a pile of junk. Not to worry says Pete, in about six months time, it will look as good as the newly restored absolutely I am going to do a running series on Pete s restoration in upcoming issues of Vette Gazette. Hopefully, As it turned out, what he took delivery of was a very rough looking 69 corvette along with what literally looked like a pile of junk. they will be informative and of interest to our club members. By the time the next issue is hot off the press,pete should have the body off the car and well on his way to getting this baby back to like new condition. Stay tuned, more to come! Page 1

2 Rebirth of a Corvette Part 2 twas the night before Christmas and all thru the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse..well not quite. Actually is was the week before Christmas on a cold December morn and we were there bright and early to help Pete Tank remove the body from the 69 he was bring back to life. Those volunteering to do the heavy lifting were Pete, Mike Ammer, Terry Brim, Greg Gorniak, Nick Kammer, and Al Katona. twas the night before Christmas and all thru the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse Pete had already prepared the body for removal by removing the interior, exterior hard top, engine, drive train, doors, hood, rear deck cover, headlight doors, bumpers, and all other misc exterior trip and chrome. He had also put stabilizer rods in the door posts to keep the body from flexing. Prior to starting, Pete had removed all the body mounting bolts, so all that remained was the easy stuff! The next step was to place the required lifting strap front to rear. This was followed by the big roll out...yep, we actually hooked Pete s dog up to the car and he single pawedly pulled it out of the garage. Nick Kammer had brought his engine hoist which we would use to lift the body off the frame. Once the hoist was in place, addi- J-hooks was attached to the underside of the sides of the body. Now, all was ready for the big lift! As we started the lift, all went smoothly for a few inches, then we hit a snag, yep, we actually hooked Pete s dog up to the car and he single pawedly pulled it out of the garage Pete had accidentally forgot to disconnect one of the bolts holding the heat shield pan bracket to the frame under the drivers side of the body. After Continued on next page Page 2

3 Rebirth of a Corvette Part 2 (con t) a minor wrench job on the bolt, we were ready to rock & roll. I was amazed at how easily the body separated from the frame after almost 34 years of marriage. With the Pete s best friend supervising, the body was I was amazed at how easily the body separated from the frame after almost 34 years of marriage With the body now off, Pete has a few more tasks to do in terms of Pete is always thinking ahead, or maybe it s just that he has been through this before,. Whatever the case, he had pre-made (out of wooded 2x4 s and caster wheels) a rolling frame to set the body on. carefully lowered onto it s new resting place. Now fully exposed, the good, the bad, and the ugly actually looked pretty good. The 34 year old frame showed very little sign of that pesky old thing we call rust. Some surface scale was evident, but for the most part, it was solid! getting the frame ready for dipping. At this writing, Pete has striped the frame of all other components and has sent it out for dipping and painting. Next the mating game! Meet the surgical team! From left to right Dr. s Mike Ammer, Greg Gorniak, Al Katona, Pete Tank, Terry Brim, and Nick Kammer Page 3

4 Rebirth of a Corvette Part 3 They say that even the best laid plans of men and mice sometimes go awry. So is the case with Pete Tank s effort to restore the corvette featured in our previous newsletters. Pete was hoping that by now he would have the frame and drive train all back together and that the body would be well on its way to being refurbished. Such is not the case. The frame is finished however after sandblasting, cleaning and being treated with a fresh coast of paint, it looks as good or better than the day it ran down the assembly line in St Louis. When I visited Pete s place in the middle of June, he had already mounted the rear end, half shafts, part of the suspension and brakes back onto the frame. In addition, Pete had started to run new brake lines to all four wheels. Up in front, he had the A frames bolted back onto the frame along with the steering gear. They say that even the best laid plans of men and mice sometimes go awry. So is the case with Pete Tank s effort to restore the corvette When I left Pete that day, the plan was to come back in a week or two and take some shots of the complete drive train mounted back in the frame. I was looking forward to seeing the frame complete with the chassis and drive train back together again! But then fate took over. When I called Pete a week later to see how it was coming, he told me that they had sent him the wrong clutch. Another week went by and as luck would have it, the owner of the car decided When I left Pete that day, the plan was to come back in a week or two and take some shots of the complete drive train mounted back in the frame to have Pete install some racing parts on the car, so back to the catalogs. On yet another front, the body sits in a body shop in waiting its turn at being stripped and readied for final paint. Does all of this bother Pete? Nah, I m a patient man says Pete, we ll get it done! So stay tuned in the next issue of the Vette Gazette, looks as if there will be a Part 4 to this story if not a Part 5 and 6. You know what they say...all good things take time, and so it is with the Rebirth of a Corvette! Page 4

5 Rebirth of a Corvette Part 4 They say all good things in due time. Such is the case with Pete Tank s rebirth of a Corvette. If you will recall, the rebirth started one cold day in early December of last year when a number of us help Pete lift the body off this car. It s now early September and still no baby! But as I said all good things in due time. Pete has managed to get the frame back to like new condition and by the looks of it, he is making good progress on the drive train I suspect the headers and laker pipes will be the first clue that this is not going to be an NCRS vette. It s now early September and still no baby! But as I said all good things in due time. The engine has been totally redone has as the entire drive train of the car. This owner obviously is not going for NCRS, but rather the results of this restoration is going to be one mean street machine. After the chassis is finished, Pete will transport the chassis to the body shop where the body is being stripped and readied for painting. The final mating of the chassis and the body will occur there. I suspect the headers and laker pipes will be the first clue that this is not going to be an NCRS vette Page 5

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